Spring 2015

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Page 10 of 62 | Spring 2015 | SAG-AFTRA 9 A Letter from the Secretary-Treasurer A M Y A Q U I N O "The return on the investment can be huge when members have a place to simply meet, share ideas, work with staff, plan for our future — and call their own." production where members are the most vulnerable, like the Georgia shoot where IATSE sister Sarah Jones died and our actors were gravely endangered. And it's in tiny broadcast markets with immense organizing potential. These locations represent our future, and a home base for members working in them can be vital for maintaining engaged members and a union presence. We can't argue for the impact of our expansive New York and Los Angeles headquarters and not acknowledge the importance of physical outposts in more challenging areas. Office space in these markets is cheap, and our offices don't all need to be elaborate or imposing. After all, the movement that put us on the path to the SAG-AFTRA merger started in my dining room — 300 square feet with a table, eight chairs, some Wi-Fi and a phone. The return on the investment can be huge when members have a place to simply meet, share ideas, work with staff, plan for our future — and call their own. In unity, Amy Aquino Dear Member, I n this issue we share the excitement of having SAG-AFTRA's name and logo emblazoned across our L.A. headquarters. Though it's not a building we own, we extended our lease in return for the right to boldly display our brand and stake an undeniable claim to SAG-AFTRA's place here in the entertainment industry's company town. Our new Manhattan office likewise was designed to make a statement: spacious and elegant, with a beautiful view and comfortable amenities, it projects to those who enter it a sense of power and plenty. It's already proven valuable as a venue to host all kinds of people and events. I hope you'll visit these showcase spaces, which are legitimate sources of national pride. That said, celebrating them reminds me of what it has meant to members in smaller markets across the country to have even the most modest office of their own. Decades ago, for example, professional recording artists found themselves a lonely island of organized labor in a state — Tennessee — and an industry with no respect for workers' rights. Already engaged with their union and each other, they needed a permanent space to call their own. The building that was secured was small and unprepossessing, but it was right in the middle of the industry's hub. Expanded over time, it remains a union home away from home for members who come from across the United States; for the music industry, it's a constant reminder that if they want to sell music they need to go through SAG-AFTRA. I'm inspired by the spirit that motivated this bold initiative. It's a spirit I've felt in other locals as well: some, like New Orleans, which have never had a "room of their own"; others such as Portland, one of the small offices recently shuttered to focus resources on our national infrastructure. When we closed those offices, we vowed to take a fresh look at all our locals across the country and do an analysis of how and where a physical presence would be beneficial. The time for gathering and reviewing that data is past due; that analysis must begin now, before we commit any more significant resources to our physical plant. The fact is, work is exploding beyond New York and Los Angeles, and members — including thousands who live in those two biggest locals — have no choice but to follow it. Work is found in anti-labor states where union contracts are the exception. It's in locals filled with non- union talent who doubt that union jobs will sustain them if they take the plunge. It's in areas unaccustomed to film and TV

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